Have you been disturbed by colonies of roaches in your place and wonder which animal can eliminate them naturally? You may even be compelled to find out if some of your pets can eat cockroaches.
Do you own a pet Gecko (house lizard) or have you spotted one in your house, yard or zoo? Well, in this article, we shall delve into close predation of gecko on roaches.
- So, Do Geckos Eat Roaches? The direct answer is YES. Geckos hunt and eat roaches in your home, yard, or zoo.
- But, it’s not advisable to feed your Geckos on cockroaches from your house or caught outside in the fields since these roaches contain bacterial infections, parasites, and germs, which may affect their health adversely.
Geckos will eat any species of roaches (unselective) though they prefer eating Dubia roaches. They also hunt and eat mosquitoes, ants, rats/mice, swarmers, crickets, locusts, and centipedes in your place.
Let’s get into the details.
Details: Do Geckos Eat Roaches?
1. How do Geckos Eat Roaches?
Geckos hunt and eat roaches as one of their main meals. When hunting, Gecko approaches the roach or a colony of roaches.
- Then, it focuses on a specific cockroach after which it shoots its head and captures it with the mouth (its rear legs give it ample momentum to reach its prey on time).
- A Gecko would slowly turn the captured roach with its mouth to ensure that the roach’s head is inside the mouth fully – this helps in fasten suffocation process, which is one of the ways Gecko uses to kill the roach.
The Gecko will then try to push the roach further (using its tongue) into its mouth. It will take 1 to 3 minutes for Gecko to swallow whole one roach.
- Alternatively, some species of Gecko such as Leopard Gecko prefer to cut (using its teeth) the roach’s head first and feed on the body later.
- When eating roaches, Gecko does not use its legs to hold on roach for better grip like cats do – gecko uses its mouth entirely for grasping and holding roach into place.
Once Gecko eats a roach, it pauses for 1 to 3 minutes before eating another one – this helps it recover hunting energy and breathe enough air, which it uses to suck in roach when swallowing.
Geckos will rarely eat a roach from the abdomen – they always eat it from the head. In addition, Geckos eat every part of a roach including the wings.
2. Species of Roaches That Geckos Eat.
Geckos do not select when hunting roaches for food. However, research shows that, in a colony of roach species, Geckos tend to feed on Dubia roaches more and often than other species.
- The study has revealed that Dubia roaches have tasty components and a higher level of calcium than other roaches – something that attracts Geckos to prey on them preferentially.
- Also, Dubia roaches lack wings (female Dubia roaches) thus making it easier for Gecko to swallow them whole.
Though American roaches, German roaches, and Oriental roaches are the most common at-home are highly likely to be preyed on by Geckos, they post-feeding challenges to them.
- They have scary legs and long wings that make swallowing problematic.
Moreover, these roaches cause health problems to Geckos when eaten thus becoming less popular and prioritized food species.
3. How Many Roaches Can Gecko Eat?
An adult Gecko can eat 2 to 6 (maximum) roaches in a given meal. Some Geckos will feed on two roaches at a time and eat a total of seven roaches in a given day.
However, the number of roaches eaten by Gecko per day may change slightly according to the size of the roach being eaten – Geckos eat smaller roaches than bigger ones.
- Young/baby Gecko can/will eat 2 to 4 roaches in a meal on a given day. Normally, most Geckos feed for 10 to 17 minutes – this time is enough for them to have eaten to their satisfaction.
- If you have a pet gecko, it is important to feed it just enough (overfeeding will make your gecko inactive).
Baby geckos should eat a few roaches 2 to 3 times in a given day. (It is not advisable to feed your pet geckos daily – alternate or skip some days).
4. Are Roaches bad to Gecko when Eaten?
Though most geckos feed on any roaches around your place (unselective), most roaches found in homes (e.g. American roaches, German roaches, and Oriental roaches) cause health problems to geckos when eaten.
- They carry parasites, germs, and bacteria in them that cause infections and sickness to your Geckos.
- The Salmonella bacteria found on/under the wings of these roaches cause scary and infectious skin on your Geckos.
Parasites such as Trichuris (11.97%), Eimeria (2.73%), Capillaria (6.16%), Toxocara (4.86%), Hook Worm (4.86%), and Ascaris (33.76%) were found both on external and internal parts of roaches after close lab examination.
Germs from pesticides or control chemicals that may be sprayed in your house or out in fields easily stick on the wings and body of roaches – this will find their way into the gecko digestive tract when eaten thus affecting its health.
What Else Can Your House Gecko Eat?
A Gecko eats mosquitoes in your house or yard by extending its tongue out for the mosquitoes to land and get stuck. A Gecko can also shoot out its tongue out to catch a flying mosquito.
Apart from roaches, geckos also hunt and eat rats and mice in your house or compound.
- The Gecko may not kill big rats or mice; however, it feeds on baby rats/mice at their nest.
Geckos help a lot in controlling these organisms. However, the feeding rate is low – you need another alternative control method too.
2. Crickets and locusts.
Field geckos hunt crickets and locusts more than the roaches. Study shows that crickets have a high nutrition value (protein).
The Geckos hunts crickets in their hideouts (holes) by use of their mouth or sticky tongue.
Geckos catch centipedes along the wooden structures in your house or yard using their mouth and swallow them whole.
Swarmer produced by termite colonies in your house or fields is often eaten by geckos. Gecko uses its tongue to stick swarmers and swallow them whole.
3. Worm substrates e.g. mealworms.
You can feed your pet gecko with some of the locally bred organisms such as hornworms, mealworms, silkworms, and super worms.
- These organisms have a high level of fat that is dangerous for geckos in excess (causes geckos to fatten faster thus leading to walking problems).
Such meals should be fed in fewer quantities and be supplemented often with vet-approved roaches.
What Should You Avoid Giving Your Gecko?
1. Vegetables and Fruits.
Geckos are insectivorous reptiles. They should not be fed on fruits, vegetables, or any plant extracts/substances.
This causes stomach upset in them though most of the geckos won’t feed on such substrates.
2. High-level fatty insects (Mealworms).
It is risky to feed your pet Geckos on large quantities of mealworms, hornworms, silkworms, or any high-level fatty insects.
- Fat from these organisms is stored (not digested) in the adipose tissues (skin layer/beneath the skin) at the tail and stomach regions.
- The fattened Gecko becomes docile/inactive and unable to walk normally – this may lead to death with time.
Highly fatty feeds should be fed to your pet gecko once or twice a week and also in less quantity. Supplement insects such as roaches and crickets should accompany the highly fatty gecko feeds.
3. Ants and Mosquitoes.
Avoid feeding your pet gecko with ants or mosquitoes. Although geckos eat them, these insects cause though and stomach irritation, which may even call for veterinary attention.
4. Scorpions and termites.
Scorpions, termites, and safari ants are risky meals for your pet gecko since they attack, bite and instill injuries on its mouth and skin.
Though at times Geckos are able to overcome and eat them, it is advisable not to offer them as food to geckos.
5. Light insects.
No insects that produce light (fireflies) should be fed to geckos. They contain toxic chemicals that will harm your pet Gecko.
It is highly recommendable to seek your vet advisory for various types of commercial gecko feeds available to ensure that you always offer the right diet and quantity to your pet geckos at the right time (proper feeding time).
You can also visit gecko feed retailers at the local center/distributors around you.
NB: Ensure that all your gecko commercial feeds are vet-approved.
The gecko is an insectivorous reptile that feeds on roaches as one of its meals.
- They hunt and capture these insects with their mouth before swallowing them whole or slicing them into pieces and then swallowing.
- It is not advisable to feed your gecko with roaches in your house or caught from the fields since they usually have germs, bacteria, and harbor infectious parasites.
Gecko can also feed on crickets, ants, locusts, rats, swarmers, and centipedes.